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Educating future urban planners, development and policy experts and data scientists with knowledge and methods for
BeDS for BUG

The research in BeDS for BUG is incorporated in the course unit PLAN60962 Digital Planning - Decision Support Systems, being taught to several Msc programmes in planning and data sciences. 

The course unit focus on the use of decision support methods and techniques in multiple areas of spatial planning, urban design and transport planning.

This course unit is key to the development of the topical data-driven approach to urban planning, in line with the current policy agenda on future cities, big data and artificial intelligence, as well as in the UN New Urban Agenda in its multiple layers of good decision-making procedures for sustainable development. In the United Kingdom, examples of this new drive for digital planning are highlighted in key policies in planning education and research, represented by the RTPI Digital Manifesto and the proposals of the Digital Task Force for Planning. The theoretical and methodological content of the course provides training to future professionals in working in decision making in the current data-driven environment, both in the context of developed countries and also in developing countries of the Global South.

The course unit is supported by a comprehensive reading list that is a starting point for key discussions in DS for urban issues, addressing theoretical and methodological aspects of different DS methods used in common practice, along with advanced methods based on engagement tools to a wide range of stakeholders. The issue of usability and applicability of DS knowledge and methods is central to this reading list. The 2021/2022 edition of the reading list is available here.

Read the testimonies of alumni of the course about their experience taking the course and see an introduction video to the UoM PLAN60962 Digital Planning - Decision Support Systems (2022/2023 edition, at the bottom of the page).

What Students Say

"Before starting this course, I wanted to find low-budget but effective means to make decisions considering multidisciplinary issues that come from social sciences, such as planning. [The course on] DSS provided the missing link in my education and professional practice as it opened my mind to implementing new methods to improve my work through well-justified solutions to complex urban problems. Given their potential, I seek opportunities to share DSS knowledge with other practitioners through research or taught courses."

Alicia A., Architect and Urban Planner, Ecuador, MSc Planning

"I completed this module during my MSc in Global Urban Development and Planning, and find it incredibly relevant to my current role, which is not in Planning or Development, but in human rights. Critical analysis and effective decision-making is essential in my day-to-day, especially working in an agile start-up environment. The module allowed me to view problems from multiple perspectives, in a way that I hadn't previously. The practical aspects were particularly valuable to me."

Elisabeth B., Chief Operating Officer, UK, MSc Global Urban Development Planning

"Paired with geospatial and earth observation data, [the course on] DSS facilitate the analysis of multiple spatial dynamics at once, encompassing land use shifts, vegetation status, urban profiles, and many other datasets. This combination refines urban development strategies, ensuring alignment with diverse goals and constraints. The data-driven insights derived from DSS are used to guide informed, evidence based, policy decisions. The methodologies within DSS are essential to a modern, data-driven approach in spatial planning and policy making."

Haden H., Geospatial Scientist, USA, MSc Data Science

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